countless home cooks and chefs have already discovered the wonderful
versatility, and pure, mild, delicious flavor of American lamb,
there's another reason to enjoy lamb. According to wine
expert Karen MacNeil, author of the best selling book The
Wine Bible (Workman Publishing), American lamb is the perfect
all around meat for wine.
lamb is the quintessential accompaniment for a wide variety
of wines from around the world reds, whites, and roses,"
says MacNeil. "A glass of great wine brings out lamb's
succulent, mild, meaty flavor and makes it even more irresistible."
of Lamb and Wine
of pairing lamb and wine is actually quite historic. In fact,
European traditions can provide inspiration for the modern matching
of American lamb and wine.
"Throughout Europe, the affinity
between lamb and wine is centuries old," explains MacNeil.
The reasons she says are two-fold. "First, with availability
from the easternmost islands of Greece to the westernmost coasts
of France, Spain and Portugal, lamb has historically been the
most popular meat in the Mediterranean, the birthplace of wine.
Consuming lamb and wine together was considered so utterly natural
it was almost instinctive" MacNeil states. "Grazing
sheep and planting vineyards continue to be a European way of
life. That's why so many of Europe's most famous wines
are served alongside American lamb in the United States."
also played an important role. American lamb's remarkable
flavor and succulent texture has traditionally lent itself to
hundreds of different culinary interpretations and thousands
of dishes based on numerous cuisines. According to MacNeil,
American Lamb is well suited to an enormous range of wines from French
Bordeaux to Spanish
Rioja to Italian
is something especially satisfying about the dynamic interaction
between the rich flavors of lamb and wine," says MacNeil.
"A bite of lamb makes you want to take a sip of wine and
a sip of wine makes you want to take a bite of lamb. It's
the perfect see saw."
a "Best Wine" for Lamb?
one you are planning to drink. "As someone who cooks with
American lamb all the time and who tastes about 3000 wines a
year, I can attest to the fact that lamb goes with a surprising
number of wine styles and varieties of wine," says MacNeil.
The exact wine she chooses depends on the cut of the lamb and
how it's prepared.
with American Lamb stews and slow braised dishes such as shanks,
MacNeil loves a saturated rich Shiraz. With a seared American
rack of lamb, she chooses a well structured Cabernet Sauvignon
or Merlot. White wines and roses are great partners too. When MacNeil incorporates lamb into
salads, she loves to serve Sauvignon Blanc. And in summer with
grilled lamb and vegetable kabobs, she'll serve a well
chilled dry rose.
wine and food is about creativity and commonsense," she
says. "People who pair wine and food together don't
have a set of rules as much as they have good instincts,"
says MacNeil. "It's more of an art than science. It's
also a matter of paying attention to the principles that emerge
when drinking different kinds of wines with a given dish."